Match Report

Northampton Wanders - 0

Newcastle Falcons - 22

Monday 08th Apr 2019

Newcastle still have one regular-season home game left against Worcester Cavaliers on Monday April 22 (7.45pm) before their semi-final on Monday May 6, the North Easterners remaining top of the Northern Conference despite suffering their second defeat of the season.

The Falcons had trailed 19-7 at the midway stage thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Saints flyer Andrew Kellaway, the visitors’ sole try of the half scored by Pedro Bettencourt from a Morgan Passman break.

Tim Swiel added the conversion, and the Falcons grabbed the first try of the second half when scrum-half Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti made the most of a long spell of possession to zip over from a ruck.

Matt Worley crossed for the Wanderers’ bonus-point try on 52 minutes from a James Grayson offload, but Joel Matavesi responded for the visitors as he capitalised on confusion from a kick-through to score.

Swiel converted and then cut the gap to two with a penalty on the hour mark, the fly-half putting his team into the lead when he scored the first of his two tries for the all-important try bonus point.

Tom Collins’ try and a second for Worley ensured it was the home side who would emerge victorious, but Swiel’s second try near the end gave the visitors their second bonus point.

Newcastle Falcons’ academy manager Mark Laycock said: “We got the bonus point we needed to secure the home semi-final but Northampton were the better side on the night, and deserved their win.

“We had some good moments during the game but were not consistent enough in stringing them together. We were forced into some early changes through injury during the first half which meant re-jigging the back line, and I thought the lads coped okay with that.

“Northampton played some good rugby and we were under stress at times, but we battled back well to take the lead in the second half.”

Looking forward to the regular-season climax at home to Worcester on Easter Monday, Laycock added: “Worcester always bring a strong challenge and it will be a good test for us.

“We still have the top national seeding to play for which could mean a home final if we were to get that far, but for the time being it’s just nice to have home advantage secured in the semi-final.”

**Newcastle Falcons A:** 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Morgan Passman, 13 Pedro Bettencourt, 12 Joel Matavesi, 11 George Wacokecoke, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Santiago Socino, 3 Sami Mavinga, 4 Glen Young, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 6 Rob Farrar, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Simon Uzokwe.

**Replacements:** 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Matty Woodward (Newcastle University), 18 Oscar Caudle (Junior Academy), 19 Bailey Ransom (Newcastle University), 20 Tom Marshall, 21 James Elliott, 22 Charlie Wilson, 23 Callum Pascoe (Junior Academy).

**Northampton Wanderers:** 15 Tom Emery, 14 Matt Worley, 13 Andrew Kellaway, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Tom Collins, 10 James Grayson (captain), 9 Charlie Davies; 1 Will Davis, 2 George Newman (Moseley), 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 4 Freddie Betteridge (Coventry), 5 Tom Jubb (Coventry), 6 Keifer Laxton (Cambridge), 7 Devante Onojaife, 8 Mitch Eadie.

**Replacements:** 16 Josh Taylor (Ampthill), 17 Toby Trinder, 18 Karl Garside, 19 Sam McNulty (Coventry), 20 Connor Tupai, 21 Robbie Povey (Coventry), 22 Tommy Freeman (U18), 23 Morgan Dayes (U18).